Understanding the Value of the Geological Database

By Roy Irvine, The Open Group EMMM Forum Director

Having been involved in geological data management since the days of the IBM XT, where for the first time, digital data were read from a spreadsheet and a sampling map could be plotted, consistently, by any operator, I have seen many examples where the management and quality assurance of the geological database did not receive the attention it should from senior mine management. As The Open Group EMMM Process Framework shows, the first step in the Mining Process is to DISCOVER a new deposit, from which a mine can be ESTABLISHED, the ore and waste EXPLOITED and the valuable material BENEFICIATED, so that the SELL process can be completed, to generate income to ensure the sustainability of the operation. Throughout these processes, the exposed area will be REHABILITATED.

REHABILITATE

The sub-processes within Discover, such as Execute Sample Process, Cleanse Data are repeated within the Establish, Exploit, Beneficiate and Sell processes to allow for increased confidence in the ore reserve (Produce Grade Analysis) and ultimately the product sold, especially in commodities such as coal and iron ore, where close quality material is essential for successful operation of the power stations and/or smelters. In these industries, poor quality at the railhead can result in a ‘No-Sale’ situation for the mine.

There have been many cases where mine establishments had cost and time overruns which could often be attributed to a ‘less than perfect’ understanding of the ore body characteristics. These can be avoided in future by a better understanding of the data within the geological database and the correct allocation of resources, both financial and human to ensure that the geological database is recognized as the foundation on which the entire mining operation rests.

These cases need to be shared with the new generation of mining professionals, through the use of platforms such as podcasts, so that virtual mentorship can happen across the globe.

The Open Group Exploration, Mining, Metals & Minerals Vertical (EMMM) Forum is a global, vendor-neutral environment where members create Enterprise Architecture standards and reference models for the exploration, mining, metals and minerals industries.

For the podcast on this topic, please visit here.

More Open Group podcasts can be found here.

@theopengroup

Roy Irvine is a professional geologist with over 35 years experience across the mining value chain, and has had the opportunity to witness life as both a customer and a supplier within the industry. Irvine was fortunate to work for one company (De Beers) for over 25 years, which exposed him to the benefits of mentoring and coaching, in one’s career development. He is passionate about sharing ideas to improve the mining industry, through The Open Group EMMM Forum, to allow the new generation of mining professionals to continue to ensure that mining remains a key industry, worldwide in the future.

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